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how to ask what someone is looking for

How to Ask What Someone Is Looking For

One of the fundamentals of building a strong, committed relationship is finding a partner who shares your aspirations and lifestyle. If you’re looking for very different things, it’s unlikely to work out.

However, if you’ve ever spent hours agonizing over how to ask a guy if he likes you, you’ll recognize that it can be challenging to demand a finite life plan, especially if you’ve only just met!

In this guide, I’ll explain how to ask your boyfriend how he feels about you and unpick somebody’s intentions without an awkward conversation that can pour cold water over a new romantic connection.

Assessing Compatibility With a Date

Let’s start with a common scenario–you’ve met through a mutual friend, at work, or online, and you think you’ve got a lot in common but you aren’t prepared to invest weeks or months in a relationship if you’re following different paths. You could try one of the following icebreakers:

  • “What do you think you’ll be doing in five years?” This question is ideal, as you can find out whether they intend to travel, move states, get married, or have no plans at all.
  • “Are you looking for a committed relationship, or are you just seeing what’s out there?” If you’re confident with a more direct approach, this leaves no doubt about whether your date wants a serious relationship.
  • What is your number one life goal?” Talking about ambitions makes the conversation less pressured. It allows you to probe their priorities, hopes, and what they want from life to see whether it feels compatible with your aspirations. 

What do you do if a boy likes you, but it’s evident you aren’t a perfect match? This situation is an opportunity to be honest with yourself and with him and discuss possible compromises–or decide to settle on friendship. For example, if you’d love to have a family one day and he wouldn’t (or vice versa), that’s an obstacle sure to lead to heartache for everyone involved.

How to Find Out What a Partner is Looking For

Next, let’s think about an existing relationship. You may have been dating for a while or have an on-and-off partner and need to work out whether this is likely to progress into a successful relationship or if they’re biding their time without any real intentions.

These are a few of the conversation starters I might recommend:

  • “Do you think we’ll be together forever, or where do you see us going?” As you’re already in a relationship, even a tentative one, you can be more blunt. If your partner ducks the question, that may be all the response you need.
  • “Are you happy in our relationship?” If a partner is on the fence, you can ask them to discuss their genuine feelings without directly asking them what they want and whether they intend to move in together or get engaged.
  • “What do you think the right age is to get married?” Marriage can be a sticky topic because people can have strong feelings either way, and a fantastic, secure relationship doesn’t have to involve marriage at all. However, bringing the subject up can help to work out whether you have mutual feelings about getting married, particularly if it’s something you’d like for yourself.

If you’ve tried to elicit a meaningful discussion and still aren’t clear about what a date or partner is looking for, it may be necessary to be direct if you need to know whether this connection is worth pursuing. A good way to phrase this is to ask what the other person wants out of a relationship (even if you’re just chatting at this stage). 

It’s a simple, honest question that doesn’t hold any highly geared undertones and should help you explore what they are looking for and whether that aligns with your expectations and overarching goals.

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